With time, everything begins to break down. Old games, especially those made with traditional means such as wood and metal, rarely stand the test of time. A few hits from falling, a scrape here and there; even daily use results in wear and tear. Over multiple years, even games kept with utmost care will sustain some damage.
Thankfully, board games will not simply fade away with time. Simple precautionary measures can go a long way in keeping board games clean, and even when worst comes to worse, vintage game restoration can go a long way. Its no surprise that collectors still have mint condition games, decades after their initial release.
In the following sections, you’ll find links to the restoration guides, divided based on materials and game type. However, as the saying goes, prevention is better than a cure. Instead of relying completely on game restoration, a few steps can go a long way in longevity.
Storing games in a dry location will always work wonders, as humidity will cause decay in organic material, such as wood and paper. Dampness should be avoided during play as well, as the board and pieces aren’t best friends with spilt drinks. Finally, don’t ignore the boxes. When storing games, consider placing the boxes in a position where there is no downward pressure acting on the covers. There is no worse feeling that having a pristine game set, but a torn-up box to store it in.
The modern standard in board games. Plastic is synthetic, meaning man-made, and a huge part in its popularity is the simplicity of use coupled with the lower overhead costs. You can find plastics everywhere, from child-proof boards to detailed pieces in complex board games. Add in durability and lightweight and its hard to see fault.
Plastic game restoration involves the cleaning and repainting. Cleaning plastics is not simply applying soap, as different compositions react differently with different soap types. Similarly, paint can be an issue, especially on products made with compromises in mind. Much like a polaroid photo fading after some time, paint loses its lustre.
Wood games are rare, but a favourite among the public thanks to the robust feel of each individual piece. Unfortunately, wood is an organic material, which opens it up many different forms of decay. Wood comes in two main forms, softwood and hardwood. As you’d expect, hardwood is the more durable, but also more expensive typing.
No matter what, wood introduces complexities in game restoration. Cracks, roughness and stains are common occurrences, and the worst-case scenario of a broken piece will always be present. Thankfully, furniture repair has many tried-and-true methods that can be applied to other wooden products, such as game restoration.
Vintage Video Games Restoration
Before the compact discs and digital downloads, vintage video games were distributed through cartridges. As you would expect, these are not as infallible as the price tag would have you believe. Not only that, the classic gaming console are old, and revisions are harder to find without resorting to emulation, which is a grey-area in and of itself.
If you’re looking into the vintage classics, then game restoration will likely play a huge role. If you’ve got a classic game console at home, chances are you’ll have issues running the games that worked fine decades ago. Electronics are rarely designed to last forever, and modern technologies did not exist at the time. Vintage game restoration is split across the cartridges and consoles themselves. Cartridge maintenance involves using cleaning alcohol and specific tools, and will require the cleaning of the PCB included inside. The consoles are slightly more complicated, and might require the purchase of replacement parts. Thankfully, these are available at reasonable prices.